Middle East

PROFILE - Yair Lapid: From journalism to reins of power in Israel

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will lead interim government in Israel until holding early elections

Abdelraouf Arnaout   | 22.06.2022
PROFILE - Yair Lapid: From journalism to reins of power in Israel

JERUSALEM

With a long career in journalism and television, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid prepares to take the reins of power in Israel.

Lapid will lead an interim government following the dissolution of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) until holding early elections, probably in October.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1963, Lapid’s father, Joseph, was a writer, journalist and a former justice minister. His mother, Shlomit, was also a writer.

"For many years, Lapid was a journalist, television presenter, creator and writer," says the website of Lapid’s Yesh Atid (There is a Future) Party.

Lapid has authored 11 books, including one -- “Memories After My Death” -- about the life of his late father, which came atop the list of best-selling books in Israel, according to the website of Yesh Atid Party.

Career in journalism

Lapid was also active in several social groups and had spent his youth between Israel and the UK.

He worked as an editor for Yedioth Ahronoth, a major Israeli newspaper, in 1988 when he was 25 years old.

In 1991, he began writing a weekly column in Maariv newspaper before turning to television in 1994, where he hosted talk shows on a number of Israeli television stations and became a familiar face for Israelis.

In January 2012, he made his political debut when he founded his Yesh Atid Party.

Lapid represented hope for hundreds of thousands of young Israelis. However, his relationship was not good with the right-wing Jewish religious parties in Israel.

In the 2013 Israeli general elections, Yesh Atid Party drew attention when it won the support of more than half a million voters, becoming the second-largest party in the Knesset with 19 seats.

Two-state solution

In 2013, Lapid was listed on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In the same year, he assumed the finance portfolio in the government of then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before the Cabinet was dissolved by the end of 2014.

In the early elections held in March 2015, Yesh Atid Party won 11 seats, but this time Lapid preferred to remain in the opposition.

In 2020, he became the leader of the opposition in the Knesset.

In May 2021, Lapid was assigned to form a government after Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud Party, failed to form it.

On June 13 of the same year, Lapid formed a rotation government with incumbent Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Under an agreement between the two partners, Lapid became the foreign minister along with the position of the alternate prime minister. He was scheduled to become prime minister by the end of next year.

The agreement also stipulated that Lapid would head an interim government, in the event the Knesset was dissolved until holding early elections.

Today, Wednesday, the Knesset voted a bill in the first reading to dissolve itself.

Lapid is known for his moderate political views.

Last year, he voiced support for the two-state solution to end the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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